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New norms highlight the value of scientific experts and research collaboration

The current crisis has underlined the critical role played by the UK’s experts and researchers and the institutions supporting them, as well as the need for collaboration between them, says Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.

Online Learning Summit supports shift to remote teaching and learning

As a growing number of universities move teaching and assessment online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Derby is holding a virtual conference which aims to support staff in making the transition.

OfS cuts back regulatory demands in face of Covid-19 crisis

The Office for Students is leaving it up to universities to decide on particular approaches to the Coronavirus pandemic rather than issuing specific guidance, and has promised to minimises its regulatory demands on the sector in response to the crisis.

Study finds fewer Muslim students gain First or 2:1 degrees

A study has found substantial differences in degree attainment by students' religion or belief.

Silver linings for HE in an otherwise sombre week

Amid a further week of gloomy developments relating to the Coronavirus pandemic, Gary Loke, Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery for Advance HE, finds some more uplifting news for UK higher education.

More than one virus is threatening to disrupt UK higher education

Reviewing the week’s higher education news, Johhny Rich, Chief Executive of Push and The Engineering Professors’ Council, warns that coronavirus is not the only deadly contagion afflicting UK HE.

A clearer picture is emerging of the government’s plans for HE

There are signs in the past week’s higher education news of a bigger picture emerging from the apparent direction of government HE and FE policies, suggests Rhiannon Birch, Director of Planning and Insight at the University of Sheffield .

Research England names KEF pilot institutions

Research England has selected 21 English universities to take part in a pilot Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), which will run between February and May 2019.

The pilot exercise will feed into a raft of evidence, including from a consultation, on how the KEF will operate in England.

Research England says it received an extremely high response rate to a January 2019 call for expressions of interest to take part in the pilot exercise, with interest expressed from every proposed KEF cluster across England. To reflect this exceptional level of interest, it has increased the pilot group from a previously published size of between 12 and 16 institutions to 21. These have been drawn from all of the proposed KEF clusters, and represent a diverse range of English higher education institutions, with a good geographical cross-section of institutions from across the country, it said.

English HEIs not involved in the pilot exercise can contribute to how the KEF could work by completing a survey as part of the consultation, which is open until 14 March 2019.

Research England’s Director of Knowledge Exchange, Alice Frost, said: "We are very pleased with the enthusiasm expressed by the sector to engage with the KEF through this pilot exercise. The high level of interest has allowed us to build a pilot group that includes universities from every one of the proposed KEF clusters and with a wide range of other characteristics. Having a fully representative group of pilot institutions is important to ensure the KEF is a robust and useful framework for universities and other users."

The KEF aims to provide institutions with new ways to understand, benchmark and improve their performance, and to provide business and other users of HEI knowledge with another source of potentially useful information.

Research England will work with the pilot group to test the specific metrics and proposed narrative statements, as well as the cluster membership, and how results should be presented, during a series of workshops between February and May 2019.

The outcomes of these workshops will be published in a report evaluating the pilot, alongside an analysis of consultation responses. Research England anticipates publishing these documents in early summer 2019, with final decisions on how the KEF should progress in 2019-20 in late summer 2019.

Research England published a document detailing proposals for how the Knowledge Exchange Framework could work, for consultation, in January 2019, seeking the higher education sector’s views on the proposals. The proposals set out in the KEF consultation document aim to implement a Government policy priority for the KEF set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper in 2017. It is working with various other organisations to develop the KEF, including the devolved funding councils and executive bodies, learned societies, PraxisAuril, the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), the Office for Students, and other UKRI councils.


Pilot participants:


Cluster E

·       Coventry University

·       University of Plymouth

·       University of the West of England

·       Manchester Metropolitan University

Cluster X

·       London School of Economics and Political Science

·       Lancaster University

·       University of Essex

Cluster J

·       Teesside University

·       University of Worcester

 

Arts specialists

·       University of the Arts London

·       Arts University Bournemouth

·       The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Cluster M

·       Solent University, Southampton

·       Cumbria University


Social Science and Business (SSB) specialists

·       Bishop Grosseteste University

 

Cluster V

·       Imperial College London

·       University of Southampton

·       University of Oxford

·       University of Sheffield


Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) specialists

·       Cranfield University

·       Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

 

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